It cannot be contested that research technology has come a long way. We are now able to garner vast amounts of information by running pieces of it through a program, or by manipulating a robot with human-esque hands to explore the depths of the ocean. In the field of space exploration, new technology has been a game changer. Researchers have been able to generate detailed maps of the moon and mars with modern technology. Unfortunately, only 5% of the ocean floor has been mapped with said technology. In order to truly be able to understand the ocean, we must survey it like we would survey, say, the moon.
I believe that, with international commitment and cooperation, we could map the entire ocean floor for around the cost of one mission to mars. The reasons to do this are insurmountable. For example, measurements of the ocean floor would allow us to properly discover its usability. Offshore wind farms would be much more plausible if we knew how each section of the world’s oceans are shaped, and how deep they are. Also, it is a matter of safety. Further understanding the ocean will lead to better predictability of potentially catastrophic weather events, such as storm surges.
Our lack of knowledge about the ocean floor has been an issue in the past. For example, remember the crash of airliner MH370? The Malaysian plane crashed in a part of the ocean that has not been mapped with modern technology. Therefore, the ocean floor in that area had to be mapped out during the search for the airliner, which was months of work that would have been unnecessary had we already known about the size and depths of the ocean.
Of course, obtaining this necessary information about the ocean will be time-consuming and costly. This is the main reason behind our lack of knowledge about much of the ocean floor. However, if simply having more knowledge about the ocean is our goal, there are ways to cut down on costs and researchers necessary to complete the task. Personally, I have suggested releasing a large, unscrewed barge carrying equipment that could explore the ocean for much less than the cost of a conventional mission. It would have a sonar to sweep the ocean floor, and be able to be controlled remotely, meaning that it would never have to enter port. This is the most viable option to explore the ocean floor while addressing the concerns of cost and manpower.
All in all, we need more knowledge of the ocean floor. It is not ideal to be living on a planet that is 70% water without knowing about the water. That basically means we don’t have concrete details about 70% of our planet. I believe if the international community can band together and commit itself to mapping the ocean floor, we can further utilize oceans to help the planet and make them safer overall.